Recently, a friend of mine asked if I had any tips as she thought about her next role. She knew that I had been through a similar situation about a year ago and wanted to know what wisdom I had learned from the experience.
I also laugh a little to myself when I get these requests. I think it’s fun that people think I know what I’m doing as a job-seeker. As a recruiter, not a problem – I can give advice and suggestions all day long about how to recruit, as well as share what recruiters and hiring managers are thinking. It’s different when it’s personal. I often describe my career as “Forrest Gump-ing my way through life” because I wasn’t always the most thoughtful in my approach. I would work somewhere for awhile, decide it was time to leave, then find something else without a lot of planning. It typically worked out, but not always. And while I learned something from every job, I feel like I could have avoided some of the pain along the way if I had been smarter about it.
Thankfully, I was a LOT more thoughtful about my last move. As a result, I’m in a job I love doing incredibly interesting work with incredibly smart people. Finally.
So, to help you NOT be me, here are some of the tips I shared with my friend:
- Don’t search scared: If you still have a job while you’re searching, this is a little easier. If you don’t have a job, it can be hard to be patient and not panic about money. Hopefully you have a nice buffer and can feel okay taking the right amount of time to find what you want. This isn’t always possible, so if you need to take a contract position while you look for your permanent home, that’s okay.
- Know (generally) what you want: Just blindly looking for something that looks interesting is exhausting and makes it harder for people to help you network. There are some good free tools out there to help you narrow your focus. Or splurge for a session with a coach or super smart friend. Whatever you do, narrowing down your want list is necessary.
- Find like-minded people: I’m not talking culture fit. Find people who will appreciate you for YOU. I’m at the point in my career where I will not suffer fools for immediate coworkers, so I consider long and hard who I will be interacting with, whether I’ll learn anything from them, and whether they will get my sense of humor (and that list is shorter than you think).
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help: As shared earlier, I suck at finding jobs for myself, but I love helping other people find jobs (I’m so weird like that). Chances are, you have an AMAZING network of people who love you and want to help you find your dream job. Use it.
- Treat Yo’Self!: Yes, you’ll want to be smart about money until you’ve got your next gig figured out, but don’t begrudge yourself a pedicure. Or a trip, if it’s booked. Or a hair appointment. Or that damn cup of fancy coffee. You still need to love you.
So there you have it. Hopefully this helps you as you contemplate that next job search. It’s not an exact science. Everyone’s search is a little different, so grant yourself a little grace along the way.
If you have any advice to share, please do! And good luck to those who are looking for their next job. We’ve got your back.
There has been a lot of talk around vulnerability lately.
I blame Brené Brown.
Okay, not JUST Brené Brown, but she’s probably the most famous one at this point. She gives talks about vulnerability all the time. They are really, really good talks. She speaks from the heart. She lays bare all her flaws. She challenges everyone else to do the same.
And people love it. And they love her. And everyone leaves promising themselves and each other that they will be more vulnerable to get past that fear, that they will have a strong back and a soft front, because there is power in vulnerability.
Then people go back to their daily lives, where there a whole bunch of other people who have never heard of Brené Brown who think vulnerability is a weakness and that you have to suck it up and show a brave face. And so, the idea of living a life of true vulnerability (like Brené Brown) is abandoned. It just seems too daunting and overwhelming, and besides – just getting through the workday is hard enough without worrying about whether you were vulnerable enough, right?
Here’s the thing – I think most people live lives of vulnerability all the time, just in different ways. They don’t call attention to it, they just do it.
- Standing up for a coworker
- Just eating the damn cake without apologizing for it
- Crying when you’re upset
- Sharing when you’re nervous
- Wearing that red pair of shoes because you feel amazing in them
- Dressing up for Halloween, even though the “cool kids” will make fun of you
- Reading a romance novel at lunch in the cafeteria
- Posting updates about how you had to evacuate your home
- Sharing your love of goofy movies
- Asking for help on a project
- Giving a friend a hug when they need it
- Admitting you were wrong
- Going to the grocery store with small kids and an even smaller budget
- Traveling to an unfamiliar place
- Granting grace to someone…especially yourself
- Being different
Recognize any of these? In others? In yourself? Vulnerability happens EVERY. DAMN. DAY. We just don’t always recognize it or appreciate it when it happens.
So how will you embrace the vulnerability in your life? How will you define it?
Because guess what –
So you may have noticed that I’ve done precious little posting to my own blog. Yes, I’ve been writing here and there in other publications, yet I have neglected my own.
To be fair, I’ve been busy. It’s been a hell of a year. Over the past 12 months, I’ve left one job, had surgery (I’m fine, thanks!), took some time off, started another job (which I love), and have generally just been settling into a new normal. My new job is a mix of working from home and traveling to client sites – the best of all worlds! (Yes, I’m one of those weird people who kind of likes business travel. My dog, on the other hand, is completely thrown for a loop. “You’re here, like, all the time…then you’re gone forever. Then you’re here again. WHAT IS GOING ON?!”)
Honestly, I admit I was stunned by how little I’ve actually posted during this time. I’ve never been one to write every day or every week, but you can see where I dropped off. While “busy-ness” is a reason for neglecting my little blog, it doesn’t take THAT long to write something. Looking back, I think it’s a factor of a few things – big changes in work/life (those take time to process); opportunities to write elsewhere (I hate rehashing existing content, so good ideas may have moved to another platform); and, finally…I didn’t have that much to say. A lot of material for work-based blogs come from what you see at work. Since I don’t work in-house anymore, I don’t have everyday interactions that make me think, “What the…,” so it doesn’t really spur the need to write it down. And a lot of this past year has been about learning a new job, so I’ve been focused on input rather than output.
But I miss writing here, so I’m going to do it more. The focus might shift a bit. I mean, let’s be honest…I’ve never been THAT on point with the topic anyway. And I’m noticing different things in the world of work that interest me, so that will inspire different thoughts.
So stay tuned.
And thanks for sticking it out.